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90% Gaza population must be removed: Israeli minister


New Delhi Jan 1: Israel’s far-right Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich has called for the removal of 90 per cent of Gaza’s residents to achieve the security goals of Israel, media reports said.

“If there are 100,000 or 200,000 Arabs in Gaza and not two million, the whole discourse about the day after will be different. The removal of around 90 percent of Gaza’s residents would help achieve the goal,” the minister said, during a radio interview, as a solution to Israel’s post-war security concerns — Haaretz newspaper reported.

Smotrich has said that Israel must control the territory in Gaza and significantly reduce the number of Palestinian residents in Gaza.

Media reports said that his “demand” was for Gaza to stop being a “hotbed where two million people grow up on hatred and aspire to destroy the State of Israel.”

“Smotrich’s comments are the latest in a growing list of troubling remarks by Israeli lawmakers to seemingly support expelling Gazans en masse out of the Strip in order to ensure Israel’s security after the war,” media reports said.

Reports said that Likud MK Danny Danon said that Israel has to make it easier for Gazans to leave for other countries, explaining that this would in fact be a humanitarian gesture towards their neighbors.

“I’m talking about voluntary migration by Palestinians who want to leave,” he said, adding that he has already been contacted by “countries in Latin America and Africa that are willing to absorb refugees from the Gaza Strip,” media reports said.

Last month, Intelligence Minister Gila Gamliel published an op-ed in the Jerusalem Post with a similar suggestion, calling on Western countries to take in the residents of the Gaza Strip, in an act of “voluntary resettlement.”

Reports said that shortly after the publication of the op-ed, the Israeli Embassy in Washington was forced to clarify that this didn’t reflect government policy.–(Agencies)



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